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Decision No. 6

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May 02 1940
In Re: Election of Delegates to Central Conferences by Mission Conferences

Digest of Case

That part of Paragraph 452, Discipline 1939, which attempts to grant to Mission Conferences the right to elect delegates to Central Conferences is unconstitutional.

Statement of Facts

This matter comes before the Judicial Council as an appeal by one fifth of the members of the General Conference. The question as to the constitutionality of certain parts of Paragraph 452 of the Discipline is stated in the following manner: "WHEREAS, The Plan of Union provides that an appeal may be made to the Judicial Council regarding the constitutionality of an action of the General Conference upon the request of one fifth of the members of the General Conference (Paragraph 43, Section 1) and "WHEREAS, The Plan of Union designates that the delegates to the Conference shall be chosen from the Ministerial and Lay members of the Annual Conferences (Section 17) and "WHEREAS, In the legislation in the Discipline, Paragraph 452, the following statement occurs: 'Each Annual Conference and Mission Conference shall beentitled to at least two Ministerial and two Lay Delegates (to the Central Conference),' which seems to be in contradiction to the above-mentioned statement in the Plan of Union; "THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, That the General Conference request the Judicial Council to consider the constitutionality of the statement in Paragraph 452 and report to the General Conference its decision."

Decision

The principles involved in the decision of this question are very similar to the questions raised as to the constitutionality of another Paragraph of the Discipline as to the election of delegates to Jurisdictional Conference by Mission Conferences. Paragraph 452 provides inter alia as follows: "The CentralConference shall be composed of Ministerial members elected by Ministers and Lay members elected by Laymen. ... Each Annual Conference and Mission Conference shall be entitled to at least two Ministerial and two Lay Delegates."` We call attention again to the provision of Paragraph 22 of the Discipline which makes the Annual Conference the basic body of the Church and that it has reserved to it the right to vote on the election of Ministerial and Lay Delegates to the General and Jurisdictional or Central Conferences. In other words the Annual Conference only is the body to which is granted the right to elect delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences as well as Central Conferences. For the further reasons stated in the opinion already filed in the matter of the constitutionality of the election of delegates to Jurisdictional Conferences by Mission Conferences, it must be held that such provision of Paragraph 452 of the Discipline which attempts to grant the right to Mission Conferences to elect delegates to Central Conferences must be declared unconstitutional. All members concur.

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